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Things to do

VALENTINE’S DAY THE SANTA BARBARA WAY

Celebrate the love in your life with this curated guide to the perfect romantic getaway in Santa Barbara!

WHAT TO DO

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Partake in an unforgettable night with the stars as you enjoy a film at the 39th Annual Santa Barbara Film Festival. Learn more.

Spa Romance Package at San Ysidro Ranch

Treat yourself and your loved one to a day of pampering and relaxation with San Ysidro Ranch’s romance package in the salon and spa. With full exclusive access to a chromotherapy soaking tub and steam shower, a full-body exfoliation treatment, a luxurious custom mineral bath, and endless sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries, you both will leave feeling renewed. Learn more.

Valentine’ Day Champagne Cruise

Hop aboard a private yacht in the Santa Barbara Harbor and sail into the sunset for a romantic evening with your partner. Your captain is included, and you can even enjoy catering and champagne with an extra purchase. Learn more.

Cupcake and Wine Pairings

Take a trip to Santa Ynez valley, Santa Barbara’s wine country, and schedule a private wine tour. Enjoy several tastings, complimentary lunch, and your own personal chauffeur to take you where you would like. Before the day comes to an end, you will stop for a wine tasting paired with cupcakes from local, beloved bakeries. It will surely be a sweet trip! Learn more.

WHERE TO EAT

Valentine’s Day Menus

Bouchon – 3 course menu of wine country cuisine

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch – 4 course prix-fixe menu in a dreamy, rustic ambiance

La Paloma Cafe – thoughtfully crafted California barbecue that reflects the region’s history

Lucky Penny – heart shaped pizzas with frosé

The Lark – a la carte menu with romantic dishes

Loquita – a la carte menu of Spanish cuisine

Romantic Destinations

Rare Society – Santa Maria style steakhouse

Olio e Limone Ristorante – artisanal Italian cuisine

Toma – Italian and Mediterranean dishes

Oliver’s – unique plant-based cuisine

Angel Oak – elevated coastal cuisine steakhouse

Blackbird – inventive menu inspired by the CA coast

Zaytoon – fresh, high quality Lebanese dishes

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS: WINTER 2023 SOCIAL CALENDAR

Embrace the Holiday Spirit in Santa Barbara, where the cool winter climate harmonizes with year-round sunshine. Discover an abundance of festive events and activities that make this city the perfect winter wonderland for ‘Season’s Greetings!’

Recurring Events

‘Miracle’ At The Funk Zone | November 10th – January 1st

This Christmas Bar brings the holiday season to life with extravagant decorations and whimsical displays alongside a menu brimming with spirited cocktails served in Christmas collectible glasses. What is one of the most coveted reservations of the season, Miracle provides a joyous and entertaining way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family in a uniquely festive atmosphere.

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Zoolights | November 15th – January 14th

Experience the Santa Barbara Zoo in a whole new light at the 2nd Annual Zoolights! Visit the park after dark and step into a world of lights, interactive exhibits, and light scenes that depict nature from all over the world. Plus, all of the animal exhibits will be open to view.

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Julefest | November 24th – January 6th

Take a quick trip up North to Solvang where the Danish Village transforms into a holiday wonderland. The festivities will include nighttime Makers Market for holiday shopping, a popular scavenger hunt through the town, candlelight tours, daily Light & Music tours, and so much more.

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Christmas Patch | November 24th – December 17th

Immerse yourself in the festive spirit at Lane Farms in Goleta, where Christmas cheer abounds. Take a leisurely stroll amidst rows of Christmas trees, capture holiday memories with photos, and challenge yourself at the corn maze. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits for a delightful holiday pie, adding a delicious touch to your seasonal celebrations.

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Holiday Harbor Cruise | December 1st – December 22nd

Embark on a weekend adventure every Friday and Saturday aboard the iconic and festively adorned “Lil Toot” along the Santa Barbara Waterfront. Cruise the harbor while discovering captivating insights into local history and marine life. This unique experience combines scenic views and festive cheer!

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Snowfall At Paseo Nuevo | December 1st – December 24th

Every weekend of December, Paseo Nuevo is bringing snowfall to the Santa Barbara Coast. Experience the wonderful sight of snow, the larger-than-life Christmas tree, and do some holiday shopping along State Street. Starts at 6pm.

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Events & Activities

Christmas Tree Lighting | December 5th

Come together with your loved ones to revel in the holiday spirit at El Encanto’s lively Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! Delight in snacks sourced from the Chef’s Garden, expertly paired with award-winning wines and comforting winter beverages.

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Holiday Stroll, Sip, and Shop | December 7th

Dive into the holiday spirit during a magical evening of sipping, shopping, and strolling along Coast Village Road in Montecito. Explore the shops along the road to find that ideal gift for your loved ones, all while treating yourself to some festive drinks and tasty nibbles. Enjoy the melodic tunes of carolers setting the perfect holiday mood. As the sun sets, don’t miss the dazzling tree lighting ceremony – it’s the cherry on top of a truly festive evening.

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Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremony | December 8th

Join the El Encanto staff for a Menorah lighting on the picturesque Terrace Garden Patio, followed by a laid-back latke soirée in the cozy Fireside Room. It’s a warm and inviting way to celebrate the season with a touch of holiday magic.

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37th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights | December 10th

Join the city of Santa Barbara and head down to the Waterfront for an afternoon and evening of festive fun! Gather your loved ones to watch the lively parade, and cap off the night with a dazzling fireworks show. For the best views, check out Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, West Beach, and East Beach. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the season with a blend of community and coastal charm.

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The Nutcracker Ballet | December 16th – December 17th

State Street Ballet brings an enchanting performance of The Nutcracker, a cherished tradition in Santa Barbara. Featuring over 150 professional dancers, musicians, and ballet students, this grand production brings the beloved story to life with all the splendor Santa Barbarans have come to love. Join the community for three magical performances, as the stage comes alive with the beauty and grace of this annual celebration. It’s a festive treat for all ages.

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Christmas Eve Prix Fixe / Four Course Dinner | December 24th

Make your Christmas Eve memorable with The Rosewood at Miramar Beach at one of their hotel restaurants: The Revere Room or Caruso’s. Indulge in a festive four-course dinner at The Revere Room, featuring locally sourced ingredients for a delightful dining experience. Alternatively, join Caruso’s for Seven Fish dinners, accompanied by the melodic tunes of carolers in the nearby Living Room, and savor the enchanting snowfall on the Great Lawn. It’s a perfect blend of culinary delights and holiday charm to celebrate the season.

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Christmas Day Prix Fixe / Four Course Dinner | December 25th

Create lasting holiday memories with an unforgettable Santa Barbara experience. Indulge in The Revere Room’s prix fixe dinner, featuring a blend of regional Christmas classics and a delightful assortment of seasonal dishes. Or, at Caruso’s, toast to the holidays while taking in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and savoring selections from a sumptuous menu curated for the occasion by Chef Massimo Falsini. It’s a perfect blend of festive flavors and scenic elegance to elevate your holiday celebration.

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New Year’s Eve Dinner | December 31st

Ring in the New Year with a magical evening at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, where the holiday festivities are as enchanting as the Coastal California views. Elevate your evening with a champagne toast upon arrival to dinner, then indulge in the 5-Course Prix-Fix Menu. It’s a perfect blend of gourmet dining, bubbly celebrations, and live music to welcome the New Year in style.

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New Year’s Eve Champagne Cruise | December 31st

Embark on a memorable journey into 2024 along the California coastline aboard The Double Dolphin. Experience the New Year’s Eve Champagne sail, featuring bottomless champagne and breathtaking Riviera views. Set sail in style, welcoming the new year with the soothing sounds of the ocean and the sparkle of celebratory bubbles.

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New Year’s Eve Le Bal Cristal | December 31st

Partake in an unforgettable night a glimmering night of unmatched elegance and exclusive service in the fabulous Baccarat crystal Chandelier Ballroom at The Rosewood. Lively libations, spectacular performers, one of Los Angeles’s top dance bands, Champagne toasts, and much more await. Celebrate the New Year in a way like never before, raising a glass to a night of unparalleled glamour and joy. Black-tie required.

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A LOCAL’S GUIDE TO STATE STREET

Identified as one of the main attractions of Santa Barbara, State Street has long reigned as the one of the most popular, vibrant destinations in the area. With tons of shops, restaurants, architecture and heritage, State Street is surely a stop you don’t want to miss on your next Santa Barbara vacation.

state street santa barbara

The significance of State Street dates all the way back to its establishment, where the road served as a connecting path from the Presidio of Santa Barbara to the town’s mission. Throughout the following hundreds of years the road was continually developed and modernized, especially as a bustling commercial thoroughfare. In the 20th century State Street majorly flourished following the widening of the road and the expansion of businesses. Today it is a well-preserved testament to our area’s Spanish heritage and architecture, as well as a popular shopping, dining, and cultural destination. 

WHERE TO EAT

When it comes to dining, State Street covers all the bases. From laid-back eateries to formal restaurants, whatever you are in the mood for can be found on the famous street. Here are just some of our favorites. 

arigato sushi on state street

Arigato Sushi

Arigato Sushi is known for serving high quality, delicious Japanese food on upper State Street. The fresh menu, excellent service, and cozy atmosphere will make for a great experience!

benchmark eatery on state street

Photo From Instagram via @benchmarkeatery

Benchmark Eatery

Located on the corner of State and Anapamu, you can find this casual American dining spot on mid-State Street. Its covered outdoor patio and variety of beers on tap make this a perfect spot to socialize and grab a bite to eat.

finneys crafthouse on state street

Photo From Instagram via @finneyscrafthouse

Finney’s Crafthouse

Featuring craft cocktails, unique eats, and local beer on tap, Finney’s is a lower State local favorite. With a wide-range of menu options and the drinks to match, this American tavern offers a fun, laid-back dining experience. 

holdrens steakhouse on state street

Photo From Instagram via @holdrens_sb

Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood

For a classic steakhouse experience, Holdren’s is the place to be. This American eatery features as many seafood options as it does steak, and boasts a full bar to accompany your meal. 

loquita - spanish food on state street

Photo From Instagram via @loquitasb

Loquita

Loquita is a contemporary Spanish tapas restaurant complete with craft cocktails, decadent dishes, and a charming patio on lower State Street. The inviting ambiance coupled with the innovative cuisine promise a delightful meal. 

Photo From Instagram via @downtownsantabarbara

Pascucci

This laid-back spot features a vast Italian menu that is sourced from local meats, produce, and seafood. From pastas to pizzas, the whole family can find something to enjoy at Pascucci. You can even bring your dog to the open air patio. 

WHERE TO DRINK

State Street offers an abundance of vibrant and inviting spots to enjoy a drink. Each have unique features and atmospheres, but all make for a great time! Here are just a handful. 

the cruisery - brewery and restaurant on state street that is dog friendly

Photo From Instagram via @thecruisery

The Cruisery

This brewery, restaurant, and hangout spot is a State Street staple. From smooth beers to a vast and unique cocktail menu to even “doggie flights,” The Cruisery is the place for a laid-back social spot.

the good lion - trendy bar on state street

Photo From Instagram via @thegoodlionbar

The Good Lion

The Good Lion, a trendy cocktail bar, consistently refreshes and innovates its menu, placing significant emphasis on using seasonal produce from local farms. While a few favorites remain constant, their ever-changing drink list guarantees an enjoyable night out.

sama sama kitchen- indonesian bar and restaurant on state street

Photo From Instagram via @samasamakitchen

Sama Sama Kitchen

This bar and restaurant creates cocktails with a captivating mix of farm-fresh produce and Indonesian ingredients. Appealing to both the adventurous and the classics, Sama Sama has both seasonal drinks and signature mainstays. 

shaker mill - fun and trendy cocktail bar on state street

Photo From Instagram via @shakermillsb

Shaker Mill

Shaker Mill, a Havana-inspired cocktail bar located on lower State Street, offers a delightful selection of fun and one-of-a-kind drinks. From refreshing blended frozen cocktails to a tantalizing espresso martini shot, this bar guarantees a fun experience.

augie's mexican restaurant and bar on state street featuring modern mexican food

Photo From Instagram via @augiessb

Augie’s

Augie’s is a gourmet tequila connoisseur’s dream. With over 700 different liquor labels and world-class mixologists, this bar and restaurant serves up a plethora of creative cocktails alongside its modern Mexican cuisine. 

instagrammable bar at the hotel californian on state street

Photo From Instagram via @hotelcalifornian

Djinn

Located at the Hotel Californian in the famous Funk Zone is Djinn, a Moroccan-style lobby bar that features Instagrammable cocktails. Guests can expect top-notch, polished drinks that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

WHAT TO DO

State Street boasts an abundance of restaurants and shops spread along its 10-block stretch. In addition, it is home to numerous establishments offering delightful recreational activities- making it a must-visit destination for your vacation.

Photo From Instagram via @granadasb

The Granada Theatre

The Granada Theatre has served as a local landmark for almost a century and is a testament to the central role that live performing arts plays in Santa Barbara’s origin. Here you can marvel at world-class artistic performances, feature films, and, of course, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. 

Paseo Nuevo Mall

Paseo Nuevo Mall is located right on State Street and is a vibrant shopping and entertainment destination nestled in the heart of downtown. It offers a diverse array of boutiques, restaurants, and cultural attractions, making it a captivating hub for both locals and visitors.

santa barbara museum of art on state street - things to do in santa barbara

Photo From Instagram via @sbmuseart

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Known as one of the leading art museums on the West Coast, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is comprised of 25,000 works of art, ranging from more than 5,000 years of artistry and contains classical antiquities rivaled only by the Getty Museum. In fact, no West Coast Museum owns more Monet paintings. Spend your day or afternoon here for a delightful, insightful experience. 

stearns wharf on state street in santa barbara things to do in santa barbara

Stearns Wharf

Located at the lowest tip of State Street, the Stearns Wharf is a historic pier originally built in 1872. Drive onto the pier in your own car, dine at one of the six restaurants, browse the locally owned shops, or even step inside the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center to learn about the creatures that reside just below. 

WHERE TO STAY

Staying within walking distance to State Street allows you to fully immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture, explore its diverse dining and shopping options, and experience the charm of this coastal paradise without the need for transportation. The following are our properties that are within a few minutes walk to the best State Street has to offer.

Downtown Life

2 bed / 2.5 bath

1 minute walk to mid State

Santa Barbara City Escape

1 bed / 1.5 bath

1 minute walk to mid State

Victorian Charm

3 bed / 2 bath

1 minute walk to mid State

Heart of Downtown

3 bed / 2.5 bath

1 minute walk to mid State

Downtown European Suite

1 bed / 1 bath

1 minute walk to mid State

Classic Cottage Downtown

3 bed / 2 bath

10 minute walk to mid State

Villa Portofino

3 bed / 2.5 bath

10 minute walk to lower State